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The Grass Grows Over

By Kate Herbert-Smith

Dum, dum, dum, dum, dum da daaa……..Ellie’s ears pricked up at the opening notes of her mum’s favourite afternoon soap opera. Creeping deftly up to the living room door and peering cautiously around it she checked to see that her mother was suitably enthralled. Turning quickly, she grabbed her bedraggled red duffle coat from the peeling banisters and dove with quiet expertise out of the backdoor.

As she picked her away across the litter strewn yard she hummed to herself and waved distractedly at the neighbour’s cat, Mr Tibbles. She picked up her pace as she turned into the grimy alley way that ran parallel to the back of the house. She had never liked it. Shivers raced up her spine as images of goblins and gremlins hovered menacingly in her mind. To her they were lurking behind, underneath and in between the discarded household debris that lay strewn against the fences, just waiting to grab onto her ankles, drag her away and gobble her up for their supper.  

Eventually Ellie emerged from the alley way unscathed and remembering to look both ways twice - just like her teacher Mrs Little had taught them- she crossed the road and skipped through the giant iron gates. A small smile tugging at her lips as she did so.

Her imagination raced ahead once more and this time transported her to a faraway and magical kingdom where she was a beautiful princess making her way up to an enchanted castle to be reunited with her long lost Father. It was her favourite fairy story and one that she had begged her Father to read to her every night before bed. However, now through the gates Ellie’s fantasies of fair maidens quickly vanished as she spotted her Father lying in the grass in his usual spot.

‘Hello dozy Dad’, she grinned and lay down beside him.

‘Hello my little smelly Ellie’ his voice, laced with affection, seemed to echo inside her head its warmth seeping into the rest of her body. This was they way they had always greeted each other and Ellie liked the familiarity of it.

Soft pattering’s of laughter and amicable teasing sprinkled their conversation as usual. Sometimes Ellie could guess exactly what her Father was going to say before he even did, and she often mouthed the words along with him as he spoke to her. They talked for a long time today, so long that Ellie fell asleep curled up in the grass amongst the wild daisy’s listening to the deep, comforting tones of his voice which allowed her to be swept away into a cloud of dreams.

Sandra turned off the television and called out, ‘Ellie……….Ellie…….’ There was no answer. She checked all of the rooms in the house before pulling on a shabby black cardigan and dashing out of the backdoor. The window rattled as it banged shut behind her. Sandra knew where Ellie would be, she’d found her there on several occasions now, which only worried her more. As she walked hurriedly through the ornate iron gates she noticed some daffodils to the left and decided to pick a few, they had always been David’s favourite. As she approached Ellie curled up in the grass beside her Father a wash of affection breathed through her and tears pricked threateningly at her eyes.

Bending down and placing the daffodils by David’s headstone, she scooped up her little girl and began to slowly carry her home. 

This page was amended on 09/04/2014
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